Poll: Short End of Stick for Sephardim in State’s Early Days

A cyclist riding past a campaign banner for the Shas party during the 2015 election campaign, in the Hatikva neighborhood of south Tel Aviv, known for its concentration of economically disadvantaged people mostly from Sephardic backgrounds. (Reuters/Baz Ratner, File)

Three out of four Israelis believe that the early Zionists acted in a condescending and superior manner to Sephardic and Mizrachi immigrants, a new poll shows.

The poll, conducted by the IPSOS organization, polled a representative sample of 509 Israelis on their attitudes to Zionism and Judaism. According to the poll, 45 percent of Jewish Israelis considered “Jewish” their primary identity; 31.2 percent said they considered themselves primarily “Israeli,” while 17.8 percent said they were primarily “human.”

Of those polled, 41 percent said that Mizrachi (Middle Eastern) Jews contributed as much to Israel’s creation as Ashkenazic (European) Jews; 50.7 percent said that the main contribution of Mizrachi Jews was “labor.” However, a large majority – 75.8 percent – said that the Zionist establishment acted in a condescending manner to Mizrachi Jews.

Asked about what the greatest dangers are to Zionism, 55 percent named “hatred between groups”; 47 percent pointed to the Arab threat as the greatest danger, while 45 percent said they most feared losing a Jewish majority in Israel. 45 percent also said that “corrupt leadership” would do in the Zionist movement.

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